Burnaby spends $1.1M from casino funds on legal fight against Trans Mountain

Burnaby's various legal battles against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion have cost $1.1 million, but the city says that expense isn't coming out of voters' property taxes.

City manager says he didn't expect court battles to drag on for so long

The Federal Court of Appeal's decision to quash approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has put a halt to Burnaby's legal spending. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Burnaby's various legal battles against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion have cost $1.1 million, but the city says that expense isn't coming out of voters' property taxes.

The source of that funding is the gambling proceeds that Burnaby receives from the B.C. government because of the local Grand Villa Casino, according to city manager Lambert Chu.

"This is a very complex project, and it's over a five-year period. There is a cost to protect the environment and to protect the community. Unfortunately, this is the cost in order to challenge the pipeline expansion project," Chu said.

He explained that the gambling profits are meant to be spent on environmental protection, heritage preservation and public safety projects.

The expenses date back to early 2014, Chu said.

"We certainly did not anticipate that it was going to drag out to five years and maybe even longer, but this is something that the city had decided to take on for the protection of the environment," he said.

Right now, the city isn't incurring any additional legal fees now that the Federal Court of Appeal has quashed approval of the project, Chu added.

The City of Vancouver, which has also fought the pipeline project in court, was unable to provide an estimate Thursday for its legal costs.

The federal government, meanwhile, is spending $4.5 billion to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan.

With files from Megan Batchelor

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